There are some days in the mountains that are truly special. Tackling the English Lake District in winter produces such days. Follow Rich Duckworth on this epic Lake District mountain bike route and take your own adventure!
Yesterday’s journey to my first crack at a UCI Marathon Series started about fifteen years ago, after seeing Miguel Martinez solo to a marathon win on Eurosport, having ditched his punctured back tyre and ‘rimming it’ from about 5km out. I’d been an armchair fan of Cape Epic and loved the footage of the dust covered athletes racing MTB’s in dramatic landscapes. I’m in my fifties. I still want to be that man. Tragic I know.
Stats: 53 km and 650 metre of ascent
Refreshments & Where to Stay
Easingwold has everything that you need, as does historic Helmsley. Porters tea rooms in Helmsley serve the very best cake and coffee. Helmsley would be a superb holiday location, with its castle, nearby Reivaulx Abbey and so many great places to eat. The roads nearby are ideal for all cyclists too.
Larisa at Newburgh Priory along this route
Heading from the calm flat roads of Easingwold, the route soon climbs and takes in some tough hills, passing by historic abbeys and buildings along the way. Riding on mainly quiet roads, this is one of the best rides you’ll find anywhere in the UK.
- Head out of Easingwold towards Crayke. However, at the edge of Easingwold take the road left (Oulston Road) signed towards Oulston and Coxwold.
- Climb steeply as you approach the village of Oulston, then descending at speed, passing Newburgh Priory as the exhilarating descent eases off. At Coxwold turn right on the rolling climbs towards Ampleforth.
- On reaching Byland Abbey, continue towards Ampleforth passing through Wass village. Continue towards Ampleforth and once through the main part of the village, then take the junction left and climb (Beacon Bank) towards Sproxton. The climb is tough, but once you summit, the descent down through the woodland lined road is straight and fast and epic. Take care, as this is a fast descent.
- On reaching the T junction and busy road, turn left and head towards the A170 road junction. At the A170 turn right and ride to Helmsley, descending fast as you approach. Porters tea rooms are on the right just before the market place.
- Once refreshed, ride along the A170 for half a mile. As you leave Easingwold, a junction on the right is signed towards ‘Harome’, take this road. It’s a quitre road with tight and twisting descents, so take care as they can surprise you. Once through picturesque Harome, take the minor road on the right signed towards ‘Nunnington.’ After 1.5 km further,turn right towards Nunnington.
- Climb gently out of Nunnington and then steadily climb to Hovingham, the childhood home of the Duchess of Kent. Hovingham is a superb place to take a coffee and a few more pictures before continuing on, with sublime meadows and woodland views as you climb steeply towards Brandsby. In particlar, look out for the stone bridge in the meadow on the right,seemingly leading nowhere, but looking quite beautiful.
- Just before reaching Brandsby, the seemingly endless steep climbs ease off and you descend on a superb twisting road into Brandsby village. Once through Brandsby turn off right at the junction in trees and climb easily to Crayke village.
- At Crayke, once you reach the high point on the main village road, it bends left, but take the junction on the right signed to Easingwold. Only a few easy kilometres now before cake and coffee in Easingwold’s Georgian Market Place.
Click below for GPX file & accommodation